The Disease of Arrogance

Posted on in Blog

Sometimes I wonder if a company reaches a certain size and suddenly, almost like magic, they wake up one day and figure the normal boundaries of reality don’t apply to them anymore.

Events of late seem to suggest maybe this phenomenon is real. Big brands somehow figure that they don’t have to follow the same published guidelines for operating on the web that other sites do, just because they are a household name. Never mind that computer programs, spiders, robots, or algorithms don’t shop, or watch commercials, or get hung up in brands as a status symbol. The prevailing attitude seems to be that, “Those rules are for mere commoners. We’ve been around for years, long before the world wide web was important. We’ll make the rules and they’ll just let us play.”

Funny thing about that. It doesn’t seem to work quite as well as they might hope. That’s the thing about the cold analytical ‘mind’ of a computer, it doesn’t much care who you are. If you don’t play by the rules as they understand them, you get flagged.

Of course, you can bend the rules a little bit, once you can get the right people involved. Some chuckles and hearty slaps on the back, a little bit of, “Hey sorry big search engine, we didn’t realize that was bad” <nod, nod, wink, wink> “We’ll behave, honest we will.”

Here’s the million dollar question though (really). How much time, money, and effort were wasted to try a marginal trick to game the search engines, only to have to redo all the work anyway? Maybe big brands have that kind of money to burn. Maybe the grass is so green in their world they need to find a way to unload revenue to reduce taxes.

Maybe. There’s some folks down in Detroit who might have some opinions on that these days.

This doesn’t really just stop at search engine tricks either. That’s the world we dabble in most, but there are plenty of other transgressions. There’s poor customer service. Ignoring an existing and potentially huge client base you’ve already won at some point. Producing second rate product with the idea that simply slapping a name badge on it is enough. And on, and on…

When you make an investment in your company, for anything, from R&D to marketing to production, keep an eye on the long term. A quick fix leads to a slow bleed. There are no solutions as wonderful as the fine people at Ronco might have us believe. Set it and forget it works for a rotisserie pork roast, but not for a company strategy.

*Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is meant to suggest that Ronco is guilty of any of the aforementioned transgressions. In fact, I have nothing but admiration for the empire that Mr. Popeil has created. Hat’s off and keep those fantastic commercials coming.

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